Photo by Matt Harrington
Kathryn Walat is an award-winning playwright, whose work has been produced across the country, as well as an opera librettist. Her play CREATION – about music, obsession, and the artistic process – was developed at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center/National Playwrights Conference, and premiered at the Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena, for which she was nominated for an LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Playwriting.
Her play VICTORIA MARTIN: MATH TEAM QUEEN premiered Off-Broadway at the Women’s Project, and was published in New Playwrights: The Best Plays of 2007 (Smith & Kraus); and her politically resonant BLEEDING KANSAS premiered at the Hangar Theatre (Ithaca) and received a Francesca Primus Citation (American Theatre Critics Association). Other works include SEE BAT FLY (Kilroy’s List 2014; Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep, Providence), ANCIENT GODS OF THE BACKWOODS (New Georges’ Germ Project, NYC), KNOW DOG (Salvage Vanguard Theater, Austin), and her one-act JOHNNY HONG KONG (Perishable Theatre, Providence).
This spring her co-adaptation (with Jeffrey Hatcher) of the Elizabethan thriller ARDEN OF FAVERSHAM is running Off-Broadway with Red Bull Theater, directed by Jesse Berger, and commissioned with an individual artist grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts.
She is also a librettist of contemporary chamber opera. PAUL'S CASE, adapted from the Willa Cather story with composer Gregory Spears, premiered at UrbanArias and was produced in New York at PROTOTYPE festival and at Pittsburgh Opera. It was named in The New Yorker’s list of Ten Notable Performances for 2014; and its recording from National Sawdust Tracks was named in Opera News’ “5 Best New Works” of 2019. JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, an opera for young audiences (with Gregory Spears), was commissioned by the Lyric Opera of Chicago for production in fall 2016 and scheduled for remount in 2020. THE ECHO DRIFT (co-librettist; composer Mikael Karlsson), was commissioned and produced by Beth Morrison Projects, HERE, and American Opera Projects, and premiered at the 2018 PROTOTYPE festival in New York.
She is currently working on BELL (with composer Richard Einhorn) -- an opera about Alexander Graham Bell -- as a commission for Sign & Sing, a company which explores stories and issues of accessibility through opera and American Sign Language (ASL). There will be a workshop presentation of BELL at Skidmore College this spring, featuring The Musicians of Maalwyck.
Kate has received commissions from MCC Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, New Georges, and Actors’ Theatre of Louisville (On the Road anthology project). Her work has had readings and workshops at such places as The Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, Ars Nova, Actor’s Express, The Orchard Project, Lark Play Development Center, and Bay Area Playwrights Festival. She is an Affiliated Playwright with New Georges (NYC), and an Affiliate Writer at the Playwrights' Center (Minneapolis). SEE BAT FLY was on The Kilroy’s List of most recommended plays by women for 2014, ROMEO & NAOMI RAMIREZ was on The Kilroy’s List for 2015, and SMALL TOWN VALUES received a Kilroy’s Honorable Mention in 2016.
Her work is published by Samuel French and by Playscripts, including three plays for young audiences: MISS ELECTRICITY (La Jolla Playhouse), ANDROCLES AND THE LION (Hangar Theatre), and DRAMA GEEKS VS. ZOMBIE CHEERLEADERS (Keen Company). She is also the author of two plays created especially for college actors: LOVERS & PLAYERS (Savannah College of Art & Design), and SIX SCENES IN A THEATER (SUNY Albany).
Plays in development include: ROMEO & NAOMI RAMIREZ (The Kilroy’s List; Ruth Easton series/Playwrights’ Center; SheWrites Festival), SMALL TOWN VALUES (The Kilroy’s honorable mention; The O’Neill’s National Playwrights Conference; PlayLabs), and SOUTHERN HAUNT (Finalist for The O’Neill; developed at Actor’s Express and Playwrights’ Center). Her newest play, MARY SHELLEY MEETS FRANKENSTEIN, began in an Audrey Residency at New Georges, and was further developed with a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts/NYS Council for the Arts.
Kate received her BA in English and Creative Writing from Brown University, graduating magna cum laude, and her MFA in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama. She is an Associate Professor/Resident Playwright and Theatre Program Director at SUNY Albany, and lives with her family in New York City.